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New Study by The Northridge Group Highlights Trends in Mobile Phone Usage and Consumer Expectations for 5G

ROSEMONT, IL (BUSINESS WIRE)—New data from The Northridge Group confirms that nearly all mobile phone users have heard of 5G, most can articulate some of its benefits, and most associate 5G with faster speeds. Results from The Northridge Group’s new report on Mobile Phone Use and 5G Expectations were quite telling.

  • Prompted primarily by device breakage and battery issues, 55% of survey respondents reported purchasing a new phone in the past year while only 24% reported switching carriers.
  • Wide coverage and coverage in the local area are the features that matter most in selecting a carrier. The vast majority of consumers are satisfied with their carrier and haven’t switched in years.
  • The younger the consumer, the more important fast data response and high bandwidth are, and the higher the expectations for immediate response.
  • Generation Z is driving new behaviors with mobile phones, has higher expectations, and wants faster speeds for a better experience.

Apple and Verizon Lead the Way Among Consumers

The data shows that while mobile phone users are much more likely to get a new phone than to switch carriers, brand loyalty is prevalent. Apple controls the majority of the mobile phone device market, followed by Samsung. While an impressive 49% of survey respondents reported having an Apple iPhone, among Gen Z respondents (the generation born between 1995 and 2005), the number grew to 70%, a figure that should concern other mobile phone manufacturers. The next closest device competitor, Samsung, managed to capture 29% of the total mobile phone market, according to the report.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile/Sprint dominate as carriers. More than one quarter of respondents (26%) named market leader Verizon as their carrier, followed closely by 23% of respondents selecting AT&T, and 21% of respondents identifying T-Mobile/Sprint as their carrier of choice.

“The overwhelming majority of mobile users (89%) are currently satisfied with their carriers,” says Jeff Quinn, Managing Principal at The Northridge Group. “Eventually, however, there may be a gap between the high consumer expectations for 5G performance that our findings point to and the ability of carriers to keep pace with those expectations. This will likely be the biggest risk to carrier satisfaction over the next three years.”

The Majority of Mobile Phone Users are Excited about 5G

According to The Northridge Group’s 2021 survey of Mobile Phone Use and 5G Expectations, 98% of mobile phone users have heard of 5G and 63% have at least some understanding of its benefits. The majority associate 5G with faster speeds and men are more likely than women to report having a strong understanding of 5G’s benefits.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers (63%) are excited to get onto 5G, with 23% reporting that they want to get on as fast as possible. Consistent with the belief that 5G will be faster, wanting faster speeds tops the list of reasons why users are excited about it, while the belief that it will provide more network reliability ranked second.

Generation Z: Greater Expectations and a New Approach to Media Consumption

One of the most telling, but not necessarily surprising findings of The Northridge Group’s study was the total shift in how Gen Z consumes media (and not just social media). A whopping 69% of Gen Z users report watching long-form videos (TV/movies) on their phones compared to just 39% of all other users. This activity represents the biggest gap separating Gen Z from other age groups, including Millennials. It seems that Gen Z respondents increasingly view their phones as replacements for TVs. Moreover, because 70% of Gen Z mobile phone users report having an iPhone, the Apple ecosystem is likely to keep them tied to iPhones as they age.

“Gen Z has higher expectations and wants more when it comes to mobile phones than any other age group,” says Scott Booth, Director of Digital Solutions at The Northridge Group. “They want faster speeds, more activities, more devices, more services, the latest phones, and they won’t accept any lag in anything they ask their phones to do.”

About The Northridge Group

The Northridge Group is a growing management consulting firm committed to delivering value to clients and ensuring a better experience for their customers. We have deep experience in the telecommunications industry and specialize in Customer Experience and Operational Excellence initiatives, utilizing advanced data analytics and business process redesign to deliver measurable outcomes for our Fortune 200 and Government clients.

Founded in 1999, The Northridge Group is a certified women-owned business made up of team members who are owners and deeply committed to the growth and success of the firm. For more information on The Northridge Group and its service offerings, please visit

Click to access the official Press Release.


The Northridge Group
Donna Abosch
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